A Beginner’s Guide to Private Equity

Does market volatility make you nervous? If so, there are other options for protecting your assets.

When investment options that are most accessible to the investing public seem volatile or uncertain, investors may seek out options that are independent and uncorrelated to the stock and bond markets. Private equity provides an opportunity to gain exposure to alternative investments that are not available on public financial markets. Diversification is a core tenet of any investment philosophy. And because the performance of an alternative investment in something like private equity is not linked to market performance, adding diversity to your portfolio via an alternative investment strategy is something you may want to think about.

What is Private Equity?

Private equity is a method of investing that occurs outside the public market, allowing investors to acquire an ownership stake in private companies. With private equity, individuals generally invest their money with a private equity firm, which pools that money with other investors’ money to invest in private equity instruments, such as private debt or venture capital. Private equity firms will often provide capital to companies that they believe have potential to grow or expand with the hopes of taking those companies public or selling their ownership interest for a higher valuation.

Usually, investors in a private equity fund are limited partners that exchange their capital for a portion of ownership in the fund. In this scenario, the fund’s general partners would be responsible for actively managing and controlling the fund’s investments.

Who Can Invest in Private Equity?

Typically, private equity funds are restricted to accepting investments from accredited investors and qualified clients.

An accredited investor is defined as any natural person whose individual net worth, or joint net worth with that person’s spouse exceeds $1 million. The accredited investor definition also includes those who earned at least $200,000 in income in each of the previous two years, which is increased to a minimum of $300,000 for those that filed a joint tax return with a spouse.

A qualified client is an individual whose total net worth is at least $2.2 million. This net worth calculation must exclude the individual’s primary residence but allows the inclusion of a spouse’s net worth for married couples.

Growth of Private Equity

The demand for private equity continues to grow rapidly. Although still much smaller than traditional public financial markets, the private equity industry was estimated to have $4.5 trillion in assets under management (AUM) at the end of 2019, according to a study by Deloitte. In the same study, Deloitte forecasts that the total AUM for the global private equity industry could reach $5.8 trillion by the end of 2025.

Institutional investors remain a significant contributing factor to this growth. In 2020, 66 percent of institutional investors invested in private equity, up from 57 percent in 2016. This demand for private equity investing may be derived from investors’ desire for high returns that are hopefully accompanied by low volatility. Additionally, retail investors have newfound access to private equity due to recently passed regulations.

Want to Know More?

While the appetite for private equity continues to surge, private equity firms will need to continue capitalizing on investment opportunities poised for growth. Are you considering private equity as an alternative investment strategy to add to your portfolio? This is precisely the sort of conversation you should have with a financial advisor, who can provide information and clarity about opportunities for investing in private equity. Don’t have an advisor? I welcome the opportunity to speak with you, no obligation. Let’s get to work!


Will O’Rourke
Financial Advisor, Dallas Market
p: 972-349-6088





Advisory products and services offered by Investment Adviser Representatives through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC (“PCIA”), a federally registered investment adviser. PCIA: 6201 College Blvd., Suite #150, Overland Park, KS 66211. PCIA doing business as Prime Capital Wealth Management (“PCWM”) and Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”). 

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